India continued their winning streak in the Champions Trophy by beating arch-rivals Pakistan by eight wickets via the Duckworth-Lewis system at Edgbaston here on Saturday.
Set a revised target of 102 off 22 overs, India romped home without much sweat. The consistent Shikhar Dhawan did not miss out on the spotlight with a fine 41-ball 48 while Virat Kohli stayed unbeaten with 22. Dinesh Karthik, who came in at the fall of Dhawan’s wicket, was not out on 11.
However, rain was a pain for everyone involved in this high-profile yet inconsequential clash.
With the inclement weather expected to set in after mid-day, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had no hesitation in bowling first. Once again, it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar who provided the early breakthrough by inducing the edge from Nasir Jamshed’s bat. As Suresh Raina took the catch, he clinched his fists and let out a roar almost to signify this was more than a game. Bhuvneshwar and Umesh Yadav bowled splendid opening spells before their work was undone by Ishant Sharma.
Hafeez and Kamran Akmal dispatched him for five boundaries and brought up Pakistan’s 50 in the 12th over. Any momentum Pakistan had gained was interrupted by the first rain disruption for the day. The break allowed the Indians to regroup and Bhuvneshwar struck with the first ball by dismissing Hafeez, brilliantly caught by Dhoni.
The outfield had dried out and Dhoni was quick to introduce Ashwin on a surface that wore an arid look. Ashwin capitalised immediately by deceiving Akmal in the air as the ball gripped on the surface to take an inner edge that went straight to the waiting hands of the well-positioned Virat Kohli at leg slip. Once again, it was left to Misbah ul Haq to resurrect the Pakistan innings. In company with Asad Shafiq, he took Pakistan past the 100-mark by manoeuvring the ball into the gaps. It looked like Pakistan would reach something around 200 in what was now a 40 over game.
Jadeja provided two crucial breakthroughs. First, he bowled Misbah (22) with an arm ball and then trapped Shoaib Malik (17) going for an ambitious pull. From then on, Pakistan could never gain momentum and were eventually bowled out for 165.
The barrage of short balls was defused easily by Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. Both left the ball well and then counter attacked once they got their eye in. The runs were starting to flow and Misbah had to introduce Ajmal. The master spinner had an impact immediately by having Sharma caught midwicket, playing a loose drive. India 1-58.
But as India looked to land the knockout blow, rain interrupted play once again.
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